Re: Bayard Hora/Gavin Barnes
Date: March 02, 2009 10:53AM
I'm glad that I found this forum. I was involved in Direct Centering, though not as involved as most of you. I took "The Course", as they called it, and I spent one day at a recruiting event in Philly, but that's more or less it. I think (or at least I hope) that the reason for this is that I was always able to maintain a critical distance. But please don't misinterpret this. I don't mean that I'm smarter than any of you, because I'm not. I'm suseptable to the same influences as everyone else. I've spent a big part of life studying all kinds of scams, frauds and cults. What I've learned is that everyone can be taken in by something. We're all vulnerable to something, in our own way, and there's not a single exception to this. What makes people like Bayard so evil is that they take advantage of this flaw of human nature for their own financial and/or egotistacle gain. And they know that young people are specially vulnerable. We all know this now, so please forgive my elementary ramblings.
It was 1984. I was just out of high school. I was at a supermarket and saw that a friend of mine ("V") was a cashier. We talked, and she told me that she and her best friend ("J") are involved in something really great. She said she'll call me about it. She did call me, and we got together a few times. In the end I ended up taking "The Course". It was partly their influence, but not completely. I was kind of lost and without direction at that time in my life. I really thought that it would help me. My Mom was against it, of course. My Dad took est and she saw that it didn't benefit him in any way. My Mom is the smartest person I've ever known. I should have listened to her.
I put down $550 of my own money (when I handed it to "J", I joked, "This comes with a money-back guarantee, right?"). The next weekend the three eof us drove from Philly to NYC. I didn't have a place to stay in NYC, but they assured me that something would be worked out (I ended up staying with another participant, a very nice lady who I kept in touch with for a few years).
I don't remember too much about the course itself. Just little fragments here and there, though I'm starting to remember more as I write this. Maybe some of it was repressed. I do remember that, overall, it started out in a very friendly, light-hearted way. But over time it became increasingly stressfull, frightening and opressive. And the last day (or maybe the last few hours) was light-heated again. They decided that since everyone remaining were now graduates they could make things a little easier for us. They even did a few skits where they made fun of themselves and their recruiting tactics.
There were two main themes of the course. The primary theme, the one that he spent most of his time talking about, had to do with giving up attachments (including, as I remember, our attachment to the idea that we should be getting something out of the course). He also talked a lot about manifesting--the idea that we can have whatever we want just by thinking about it, or wishing for it, or whatever. By the way, these are both very worthwhile ideas, and there is truth to both of them. As a matter of fact, before I took "The Course" I read "Creative Visualization" by Shaki Gawain. She talks about both of these ideas, and as far as mediocre new age books go, this is one of the better ones. Aside from these two general ideas, I don't remember most of what he said during his lectures (and I'm sure you're very thankful for that--i didn't know that this was going to be so long either). but I remember the breaks. I was told by both "V" and "J" that the breaks are the most productive times. That is when you begin to see results.
So what happened during the breaks? We would all kind of walk around aimlessly for a minute or so, and then one of the "associates" (I don't remember what they were actually called) would approach me and start chatting. Small-talk at first. Then it got very confrontational. Lots of yelling and raised voices all around the room. They would talk to you until they found something that you were attached to, and then tell you to just stop feeling that way. They said it like it was as easy as that, and if you questioned them they started yelling.
Here is one thing I remember very clearly:
During one of my breaks, either "V" or "J" approached me and started talking to me about something or other that I was attached to. We actually spoke for about five minutes, and I remember thinking: 'this is interesting. Usually by this time the person is yelling at me'. But I think she was being easy on me because we were friends. After about five minutes, another "associate" who was standing very closely, said to her: "Are you getting the results that you need?". This really pissed me off. It was condescending. I felt like yelling "Go fuck yourself. we're just talking, mind your own business".
And this is something else I remember:
Whenever I think about Direct Centering, this is the first thing that comes to mind. It's an image of Bayard (we called him Gavin) sitting on a really nice wooden chair in the middle of the room, listening to one of the participants who was standing in the front, talking about something or other. I remember looking back and seeing Gavin sitting there, and my two friends were standing on either side of him, massaging his neck, his arms, his hands, while he was listening. Why do I remember this? Because it looked like he was on top of the world. And this occurs to me now. I'm a photographer. There's a famous picture of a different cult leader, sitting on a very nice wooden throne, wearing dark sunglasses, and a sign in the background sais "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it".
I went through all three days and "passed" the course. At the time I was staying with someone who I met there. A very nice lady who I became friends with. During one of the breaks, she left. The pressed the elevator button and got in. While she was waiting for the doors to close about five "associates" were talking to her, trying to change her mind, telling her that she can always come back, etc. I was standing there too, just watching her. I came so very, very close to walking in the elevator with her. But I didn't. Why? I saw the course as a personal challenge. I found all the stuff about giving up attachments to be interesting but nothing more. I was always able to maintain a critical distance. I'm sure that if i took some more courses and got more involved, then they would have broken that resistance down to some degree, but it didn't happen that way.
After The Course was over, the three of us drove back home to Philly. They were still very involved in DC, but I think they communted to NYC on the weekends to make phone calls, etc.
I basically decided that it was all a bunch of new age pseudo-psychology psycho-babble. I'm thankful that they didn't really do very much damage to me (I didn't give them a chance to). V and J are a different story.
One last memory, and this is actually one of the greatest regrets of my life. A few weeks later, "V" and "J" were back in Philly, and they wanted me to help out at a recruiting event, which was at their home. They had flyers made and they put them up and about 50 people showed up. They even gave me a nametag that said I was some kind of counselor or something. Even though I wasn't involved in them anymore, at this point I did have some mixed feeling about it. I remember that one man was really on the fence about taking the course. When were talking he asked me for my phone number. I wrote it down on a small piece of paper. Now when I think of this I see it in ultra, ultra, super slow motion. I'm writing down my phone number, and the whole time that I'm writing it, I'm thinking about writing "Scam" also, and then crossing it out right away, so he sees it but no one else can. But I didn't do it, and for all I know he took the course and became just as damaged as my two wonderful, beautiful friends (I think they're both doing fine now, but one can't be too sure when time and distance separates people).
I honestly don't care about myself. After I took "The Course" I was damaged. I was very confused. But not for too long. A few months or maybe a year at the most. But I care about my friends very much, and if i ever run into that fucker again we'll see who's left standing (I'm a little bigger and stronger than him, but on the other hand I think we all are--have you seen his picture lately?).